Ranma 1/2: Outta Control - Complete Season 4 - DVD
The fourth broadcast season of this popular transgender comedy feels less inspired than the third (collected in the Hard Battle set). Ranma's duel with a feline specter in "My Fiancé, the Cat" plays like a retread of "You Really Do Hate Cats!" from the second season. In episode 17 Kasumi encounters a childhood friend after many years, but the reunion doesn't really go anywhere. Although series creator Rumiko Takahashi says the three-part "Ranma Gets Weak" story line is a personal favorite, it's not much fun. A trick of Happosai's deprives Ranma of his strength, so everyone pounds him into mochi. Ranma is funny when he's undone despite his strength, not when he's just a punching bag. Another problem is that Richard Ian Cox, who's taken over the voice of boy-type Ranma, sounds less like a petulant teenager than Sarah Strange did.
But the better moments in this collection are still great fun. In episodes 15 and 16, a Martial Arts Calligraphy master leaves Ryoga with a pattern on his stomach that looks like Betty Boop's face. This story reveals the grudging affection Ranma and Ryoga share, despite their ongoing rivalry. (Only the perpetually lost Ryoga could dramatically bid everyone farewell--then set off on a loop trail.) Happosai's incurable fetish for girls' underwear severs the student-teacher bond in episode 10 and blights the old lecher's nascent romance with a pretty preschool teacher in episode 13. (Unrated; suitable for ages 12 and older: slapstick violence, nudity, mildly risqué humor)